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Origins of the Name

In Roman times Nazareth was a Jewish village and its name is thought to come from the Hebrew word “Netzer”, which can mean a twig or a branch. For Christians, this supports the claim that Jesus was a descendant of King David, which in turn strengthens their belief that Jesus is the Messiah. But “Netzer” also means “to keep”, which may refer to the city’s location on a mountain watching over the Jezreel Valley, frequently a scene of battle in earlier times.

Jesus was known as Jesus of Nazareth – which is why the Hebrew name for Christianity is “Natzrut”. In English, Jesus is called “Christ”, which means a Messiah; hence the English name Christianity. In Arabic, Jesus is called “Massiach”, meaning Messiah, and Christians are called “Messachin”.

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